Peter Clarke (1929 - )
Dorian Gray

mixed media
50 x 35cm

Originally it was a portrait of a stinkingly good looking man, the kind of work,
well-executed, that would have been admired by all who saw it. Of course once the trans-
formation started taking place I had no alternative but to hide it in a room where it
remains under lock & key. The extent of the change in my painted image was so unexpected
& has become so, yes, hideous I am forced to keep it hidden from view because if I
destroy it I die.
Concerned with physical impermanence, how I regret having made that pact with the
devil. But I wanted to remain young for ever & ever & always beautiful, the kind of
person so attractive people in the street turn back to look at again in astonishment
& admiration. Had my vanity not led me to make that agreement with Satan
& only if I had been patient I could have avoided the curse that descended on my
soul & that is mirrored in that portrait. Years later I could have travelled to California
where they say you find the best practicioners of plastic surgery, the best in the
whole world. I could have had them working on me, adjusting wrinkling, sagging flesh
when ever necessary. Of course the portrait, unhidden, would have remained that of a
handsome young man to which the surgeons could have referred when ever it became
But as long as the painting exists it will serve to remind me that I made that pact
& that I've got to live with the curse for ever. I will always be beautiful but I am evil.

2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.